The Michigan Daily
U.S out of line in Central America. Again.
by Dave Austin the presidential accord is the fact that
Hondurans of all political persua-
Five Central American presidents sions have accepted the reality that
have agreed upon a policy to disband the contras have been militarily de-
the Nicaraguan contra armies, now feated and no longer want them in
encamped in Honduras, by December their country. Having played the
8, once again showing how the United States aid pipeline for all it
United States government is an ob- was worth, in return for knuckling
stacle to peace in the region. under to U.S. pressure and hosting
The agreement came about, in contra bases, Honduras is now seek-
part, because the Nicaraguan gov- ing to regain some of its lost inter-
ernment has again made clear its de- national stature.
sire for truly democratic country. There are obvious benefits for
The Nicaraguan government has Nicaragua as well. As long as the
made many concessions to the contras are maintained in Honduras
United States in an attempt to as a fighting force through so called
achieve peace with our government, humanitarian aid, the Nicaraguan
only to be told that they were not government is forced to divert scarce
enough. The most glaring example human and monetary resources to
was in September, 1984 when the their own military. This depletion of
Nicaraguan government made many resources, coupled with U.S. eco-
significant concessions to U.S. de- nomic warfare, has been one factor
mands, an agreement was almost in ruining Nicaragua's economy.
reached, and was scuttled at the last Perhaps if the contras are actually
minute by Honduras, giving in to disbanded, Nicaraguans can get on
U.S. pressure. with the business of rebuilding their
Another factor in bringing about country.
Nicaragua's pledges to democratize
the country, of which the United
States are making much of, are re-
ally nothing new, and hence are not
concessions. The 1984 presidential
elections in Nicaragua were cited as
being clean and fair be international
observer teams from around the
world and there is not reason to
think that elections scheduled for
next February will be any different.
The Nicaraguan government can af-
ford to incorporate the contras into
the political process, knowing all
the while that they have no popular
support and that the elections will be
Indeed, the presidential accord,
coupled with another agreement
worked out last week between the
Nicaraguan government and the in-
ternal Nicaraguan opposition, leaves
the contras totally isolated. In sign-
ing the internal accord with the
Nicaraguan government last week,
twenty opposition parties in
Nicaragua made public their disdain
for the contras and their unwilling-
ness to work with them by calling
for the contra armies to be disbanded.
These parties have long maintained
that while the contra leadership is re-
laxing in Miami, courtesy of U.S.
funding, the opposition was sticking
it out within the country and are
therefore the real opposition.
Thus the contras are left without
support, except the little bit which
exists in Washington. And as the
most recent peace accord makes
clear, Washington's wishes in re-
gards to the contras now carry little
weight in the region.
Initial response from the Bush
administration reflects Washington's
weak position. Administration offi-
cials were trying to portray the ac-
cord as one which puts the onus of
success on the Nicaraguan govern-
ment, saying that the demobilization
of the contras depends first on the
Nicaraguan government creating
"democratic" conditions within the
country. If this were the intent of the
accord, which it is not, the condi-
tions would have been met long ago.
Nicaragua's electoral laws and pro-
cedures have been evaluated by nu-
merous international observers, in-
cluding the U.S. Library of
Congress as being the most progres-
sive in the hemisphere; that is, even
better than our own electoral system
in insuring popular participation and
a fair outcome.
Equally important, the presidential
accord just signed is clear in that the
focus is the contras and the fact that
they must demobilize by December
The accord, support by the United
Nations, the Organization of
American States and numerous
Western European governments once
again puts the United States, once
again, in the position of blocking
both peace and self determination in
Central America. The accord also
shows that the Nicaraguan
revolution is here to stay.
David Austin is an LS&A senior
Waking up in El Salvador: eyewitness account
The following is a partial tran-
script of Luis Vazquez's interview
from San Salvador broadcasted July
27 over WCBN FM 88.3 during the
El Mundo Latino program. Vazquez,
a graduate student in public health,«
is one of four University students
sponsored by the Michigan Student .
Assembly to visit El Salvador this
summer. Vazquez was a member of a ':
seven person delegation which fo-
cused on healthcare in El Salvador.
San Salvador- San Salvador is a El
city that is very, very militarized. Salvador
Soldiers are on patrol everywhere at all entrances. They check most
around the city and there are three or people going in and out of the uni-
four different kinds. One is the na- versity; and they are under orders to
tional guard, which wears black shoot anyone who they think might
helmets; others are the treasury po- look like a subversive or a guerilla
lice and regular army, and some are group.
in civilian clothes also. ...Also, last Friday two health
They ride around in the backs of workers were captured; they work
pick-up trucks six, seven, eight at a with the Catholic Church. They
time with their guns aimed out. train health promoters in El
I woke up the first day in El Salvador's marginalized communi-
Salvador to sight and sounds of heli- ties. One is a French dentist, the
copter gun ships circling around the other is a nurse from Brazil. They
city - that was my welcome to El are being told to leave the country
Salvador. by the Salvadoran government who
Business establishments are claims they have links with the
guarded by men with automatic Farabundo Marti National Liberation
weapons, that includes places like Front (FMLN). They were held for
Pizza Hut and McDonald's. The three days by the treasury police.
types of weaponries I've seen are They were blindfolded, handcuffed
Ml6s and Uzis. They travel and interrogated for the three days.
throughout the city day and night. Death threats were made against their
Sometimes they drive around with lives. The nurse, a woman, was
their faces painted so they can't be threatened with rape.
identified by local people. Also, the interrogators asked ques-
...I've been to the University of El tions about the role of the church
Salvador. There is military stationed and internationalists in El Salvador.
The doctor said that a gun was They've explained to us that they tap trying to work with the Republican
held to his head and they turned it into the city system - and that's all National Alliance (ARENA) govern-
away and fired it. They also threat- without permission. ment to improve things. But they
ened electric shock, and suffocation People in these communities also are also talking about various auster-
by a hood with lime coating on the try to organize to get some kind of ity measures that the ARENA gov-
inside. healthcare amongst themselves. ernment is planning to take such as
They were made to stand for 24 They try to get training - basic, devaluation of the currency, allowing
hours, standing on their feet - not basic training. Things that you and I inflation to increase a little bit, al-
allowed to sit. They were given no take for granted in the United States. lowing unemployment (which is
food or water for the three days. Yet, people get training in healthcare well over 50 percent here), to in-
They also heard other people being a little bit and then they go back to crease a little bit, and other indica-
tortured brutally in other areas of the their communities. tors to change - to promote in-
place where they were held. They Interestingly enough, thes° people vestment.
heard screams that sounded like one are all considered subversives, like Investment would only benefit the
of their compatriots - a Salvadoran the foreigners I mentioned, the doc- rich people here. There is no such
health promoter. tor from France and the nurse from thing as a trickle-down theory for the
...There may be a campaign by the Brazil. People like that, or people people of El Salvador. The rich peo-
Salvadoran government to deport who are trained in healthcare are con- ple want to maintain their strangle-
foreign health workers that work sidered subversives and many times hold on the economy and they'll
with the poor here. they are disappeared, are never heard stoop to any kind of means to con-
.Sometimes you might not from again or are captured and re- tinue that. Our government is in ca-
know that there's a war going on in leased a few days later after torture hoots with all of that, and are going
this country. Particularly, when and beatings. to let this situation continue proba-
you're driving through the much bet- The thing that strikes me the most bly throughout the Bush administra-
ter neighborhoods, they are relatively is that all of this is paid for by my tion and beyond that if at all possi-
uneffected by the war, or the taxes and your taxes. Its about time ble.
earthquake. Hardly any of their that the US government cut off mili-
houses were destroyed. tary aid here in this country, and
But when you go into the force some kind of change so that The OpinionPageis actively
'marginalized communities you see people can live decent lives... andr utid
people living behind plastic sheeting that's a very dangerous thing to say recruiting women an
that people use in their gardens to in public here. people of color for the fall
keep the weeds down. People are liv- If you're caught saying things or staff.
ing in houses constructed of this sort passing out literature these days, or The first Edit Board is sched-
of materials. if I were to take a picture of a mili-
Basically, they receive no type of tary person I could be deported, in- uled for Wednesday Septem-
help from the government at all. terrogated or captured. ber 6, at 6 pm in the Student
Many times in these marginalized ... I just came here from the US Publications Building, second
communities people organize a little embassy. It was a short visit. We floor in the library.
bit and try to get themselves clandes- were briefed by a few people on All are welcome!
tinely some electricity and water. healthcare. They claim that they are